10 Tips to Pass Road Test by Roger Daniher

The Level One Road Test (G1 exit) in Ontario lasts about 15 minutes. It usually includes: starting, stopping, turning, lane changing, parallel parking and perpendicular parking. Error points are deducted from 100% (X = 4, √ = 2, a major = 31). A score of at least 70% is required to pass. Arrive early with a clean vehicle in good running order. No pets or passengers, other than the driver examiner, are allowed in the vehicle. If you have any questions, ask them before you begin.

1. Follow the instructions of the driver examiner. The Official Driver's Handbook (2004) reports "You will not be asked to do anything illegal during the road test" (p.16). Use common sense. Assume "straight ahead" until the examiner says "Right" or "Left." The examiner will tell the driver well in advance where to turn, but the driver must choose which lane to drive in.

2. Concentrate on your driving. Don't talk too much to the examiner. Pay attention.

3. Look effectively. Don’t just move your eyes; turn your head left and right to look well when approaching all intersections and railroads. Check your mirrors every 5 to 10 seconds (p.140). Check blind spots by looking over your shoulder for every lane change (p.44) and before starting a turn if it is possible for another vehicle to overtake you while you are turning (p.122).

4. Keep space and pace. Stay at least two seconds behind the vehicle ahead and watch your speed. Driving too slowly is almost as bad as driving too fast. Keep pace with traffic around you without going over the speed limit (p.28). As little as 5 km/h over the limit could cause failure. Normally drive along at 50 km/h in the city and make most turns at 20 km/h.

5. Communicate effectively. Signal all maneuvers well before the action (p.27).

6. Obey traffic signs and signals exactly according to law. Hold a stop for two seconds. Don't be slow to go. Move ahead within four to five seconds after it is safe to start (p.127). Stop for the amber (yellow) signal if you can do so safely (p.89). Make a full stop before turning right on a red light (p.39). Obey pavement markings and enter the nearest open driving lane when turning. Watch out for left turns onto and off one-way streets (p.40). Be alert for pedestrians and bicyclists and yield to them (pp.30, 31). Don't force a pedestrian to break stride.

7. Be a smooth operator. Smoothness is the mark of an expert driver. Steer smoothly and make smooth stops. Be gentle on the accelerator and use hand-over-hand steering. Don't palm the wheel with one hand (p.38). Keep two hands on the steering wheel at 10 and 2 o’clock (p.27).

8. Drive in the right-hand lane as much as possible. Leave the left lane open for passing (p.28).
After turning left into the left lane, you should normally change lanes back into the right lane.

9. Keep focused on the road ahead. If you make a mistake, say nothing and just carry on. Don't let mistakes that are behind you distract you from more important things on the road ahead that need your full attention. The examiner does not expect your driving to be perfect and will not fail you for a few minor errors. For instance, you will not fail for a poor parallel park, unless you bump into another object. Of course, you will lose some points if: you bump into the curb, your vehicle is not straight or your vehicle ends up too far away from the curb (over 30 cm).

10. Use your own best judgment. Don't ask for help in a difficult situation (p.16). The purpose of the road test is for you to show the examiner that you can drive reasonably well without help.

If you fail, don't feel too bad. Good drivers sometimes have bad days. Show your determination by making another appointment right away and resolve to practice harder for the next road test. In Ontario you must wait at least 10 days between tests (p.16). © RD: 2007

Roger Daniher
In Class and In Car Instructor
Delta Driving School